Happy birthday, poka, and Happy Valentine's Day to everyone else.

Tropical Getaway

"How much longer, Daddy?"

"Not much longer, sweetie. You should be able to see the island pretty soon." Ever since they left Pallet Town a few hours ago Michelle had been eagerly anticipating arriving at their destination. Of course neither Ash or Misty could blame her, for they were looking forward to this just as much as their daughter.

"I'm so glad we're doing this," Misty said.

"Me too," Ash agreed. "Even if it is a year late." For them last year's Valentine's Day plans were put on hold due to Misty being sick. But this year she was completely healthy, meaning their Valentine's Day plans were a go.

"Just think… an entire weekend at a tropical getaway," Misty said. "It's too bad Pikachu, Marill and Azurill didn't want to come along."

"I think that after what happened last year they wanted us to have this moment all to ourselves," Ash spoke.

"That was very thoughtful of them," Misty commented. "Remind me to do something to make it up to them when we get back home."

"I see it! I see the island!" Michelle shouted. Ash and Misty looked ahead and saw that they were indeed approaching an island.

"Not much longer now," Ash said. The two of them shared a smile as they watched the boat steadily approach their destination… Cinnibar Island.

Upon arriving at Cinnibar Island the first thing Ash and Misty noticed was how different things were since their last visit. There were many more beachside resort hotels now as well as a pier filled with various carnival attractions. Michelle's eyes darted back and forth as she took in the sights.

"Wow… look at everything," the young girl gasped.

"It's quite the sight, isn't it," Ash commented. Michelle nodded in agreement.

"It wasn't like this the last time we were here, though," Misty said.

"What was it like, Mommy?" Michelle questioned.

"Well, there was only one hotel here, and none of these carnival attractions," Misty replied. "Of course that was a long time ago."

"I think that was back when I was competing in the Indigo Championships," Ash said.

"I think you're right," Misty agreed.

"How long ago was that?" Michelle asked. Her parents took a bit of time to think before answering.

"That must have been 16, maybe 17 years ago," Ash recollected.

"That sounds about right," Misty agreed. By now the three of them had reached the hotel they would be staying at.

"We're staying here?" Michelle questioned as she stared up at the rather large and fancy looking building.

"That's right, sweetie," Ash told her.

"How were you able to afford this? I know it couldn't have been cheap," Misty said.

"Let's just say I called in a favor from an old friend of ours," Ash told her.

"Let me guess… Blaine pulled some strings, didn't he?" Misty assumed.

"Who's that?" Michelle wondered.

"He's the Gym Leader here on Cinnibar Island," Ash answered. "We had quite the heated Gym battle here back in the day, and when he found out we'd be staying here for the weekend he insisted on paying for our hotel stay."

"He sounds like a nice guy," Michelle commented.

"He is, even if he can be a bit odd at times," Misty replied. The three of them entered the hotel and made their way to the front desk. The receptionist was there, waiting to greet them with a smile.

"Welcome. How may I help you?"

"I believe you have a room reserved her for us under the name Ketchum," Ash informed her. The receptionist turned to her computer and began searching for the reservation. After a while she found what she was looking for.

"Ah yes, here it is," she announced. She then turned to the wall behind her where there were numerous hooks, a few with keys hanging off them. She grabbed one and handed it to Ash.

"Your room is number 306 on the third floor," she informed them. "I hope you enjoy your stay." The family thanked her and made their way to the elevator. After a short ride they emerged on the third floor.

"Okay, now all we need to do is find room 306," Misty said.

"That shouldn't be too hard," Ash commented. Just as he said it only took a brief search for them to locate their room. After unlocking the door the three of them entered the hotel room. There were two beds along the right wall while the wall on the left had a mini fridge and a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. But the one thing that had their attention at the moment was the balcony that gave them a breathtaking view of the ocean.

"Wow… what a view," Michelle gasped in awe.

"Remind me to thank Blaine the next time we see him," Misty said. "So, what do we do first?"

"The first thing we do is get settled in," Ash answered. "After that…"

"Can we go to the pier, Daddy? Please?" Michelle begged. Ash and misty couldn't help but laugh at their daughter's excitement.

"That sounds good to me," Misty said.

"Well then, let's check it out," Ash said.

"Yay!" Michelle cheered, getting a laugh out of her parents.

It was late in the evening by the time the Ketchum family returned to their hotel room. The attractions at the pier kept them occupied for hours on end. From the different games to all the vendors selling various foods there was no end of activities for them to partake in.

"I'd say that was the perfect way to start our Valentine's Day weekend," Ash commented.

"It was," Misty agreed. "I had so much fun today, and I'm sure Michelle did as well."

"I sure did," she agreed, all the while hugging the Lapras doll Ash won her from one of the carnival games.

"Well if you liked what we did today then I'm confident that you'll love what I have planned for tomorrow," Ash said. This immediately piqued the interest of both Misty and Michelle.

"And just what would that be?" Misty inquired.

"Well, if you must know, I thought we'd spend the day on the beach," Ash told her.

"The entire day at the beach?!" Michelle exclaimed.

"I'm judging from your reaction that you'd like that," Ash assumed. He got his answer when Michelle threw her arms around him.

"Oh, yes yes yes!" the young girl shouted. "Just think of all the different Water Pokémon we'll see!"

"You are your mother's daughter," Ash laughed as he patted the top of her head. With their next day plans set the family turned in for the night.

The midday sun was high in the air by the time Ash, Misty and Michelle made their way to the beach. Even though Cinnibar Island was a popular tourist location they managed to find an unoccupied stretch of beach.

"Alright. Who's ready for some fun?" Ash asked.

"Me!" Michelle cheered. She immediately sprinted towards the water, Ash and Misty following close behind her. They got right to the water's edge when Michelle spotted something in the distance. A rather sizeable group of objects were heading towards the island.

"What's that?" she asked. Ash and Misty followed her gaze and saw what she had. At first they couldn't tell what they were, but as the objects got closer they began to look recognizable.

"Those look like Pokémon," Misty told her. Once they were close enough they noticed the long necks and rather large shells of the Pokémon.

"Those are Lapras," Ash said.

"Just like my doll," Michelle commented. They looked in as the Lapras continued to swim closer to the shore. Then, the lead Lapras broke away from the group and quickly approached them.

"Why's that one coming our way?" Michelle wondered. As Ash and Misty looked at the approaching Pokémon something clicked in their minds.

"Ash, do you think…" Misty began.

"I don't believe it," Ash said.

"What, Daddy? What is it?" Michelle asked.

"That's my old Lapras," Ash told her. Michelle watched in awe as her father's former Pokémon swam up to them, a smile on her face.

"(Ash, Misty. I thought that was you two,)" Lapras said. "(It's been too long.)"

"That is has, Lapras," Ash agreed.

"It's great to see you again," Misty said.

"(You as well,)" Lapras reciprocated. Right then the Transport Pokémon noticed Michelle. She looked at the young girl with a smile on her face.

"(Hello. Who are you?)" she greeted.

"This is Michelle," Ash said. "She's our daughter." The news was a bit of a shock to Lapras.

"(I was not aware you had a child,)" she spoke.

"A lot has happened since we last met," Misty commented. She and Ash spent the next few minutes telling Lapras everything that happened over the past few years. By the time they were finished Lapras's look of shock had grown.

"(Goodness. You weren't kidding when you said a lot has happened,)" the Transport Pokémon gasped. "(Of course I am overjoyed for you.)"

"Thank you," Ash told her. "From the looks of it I'd say things have been good for you and your pod."

"(It has. During our travels many of our number have gone off to begin family pods of their own,)" Lapras explained.

"I wonder if we'll meet any of them during our travels," Misty pondered.

"Who knows," Ash answered.

"Were you really one of my daddy's Pokémon?" Michelle asked.

"(I was, little one. I carried him and his friends all over the Orange Islands and even helped him with their tournament to become the Orange Island champion,)" Lapras said. (I really enjoyed our time together.)"

"Then, why did you leave?" Michelle wondered.

"I promised Lapras that I'd help her find her family, and once we did I let her go so she could be with them," Ash explained.

"Aw, that was nice of you, Daddy," Michelle said.

"That it was," Misty agreed. Right then an idea popped into Lapras's head.

"(How about I give you all a ride for old time's sake,)" she offered. Michelle's eyes instantly lit up. She turned to her parents, a pleading look on her face.

"Can we, can we?! Please?!" she begged. It didn't take long for Ash and Misty to decide.

"Sure," Ash said. Michelle cheered as she approached the Transport Pokémon. Ash helped her and Misty climb on before climbing on himself.

"(Hang on,)" Lapras advised. She turned around and took off into the open water, being careful not to lose her passengers.

"This is amazing!" Michelle shouted.

"I forgot how fast you were," Misty commented.

"If anything you've gotten faster," Ash praised. Lapras smiled at the praise she was getting from her former trainer, as well as from the reaction she got out of Michelle. For the rest of the day everyone played together. Ash, Misty and Michelle were treated to rides from all of the other Lapras, even participating in a few races. They even spent some time swimming alongside them, sometimes diving down underneath the water. By the time they were done the sun was beginning to sink beneath the horizon.

"That was so much fun!" Michelle exclaimed.

"(I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves,)" Lapras said.

"By did we. I can't remember the last time we had that much fun," Misty said.

"Yeah, and we have you to thank for it, Lapras," Ash spoke. "Right now, though, we should be getting back to the hotel." Before they left Michelle ran up to Lapras and hugged her.

"Thank you, Lapras," she said.

"(You're welcome,)" Lapras replied with a smile. After farewells were said Lapras returned to her pod. Ash, Misty and Michelle waved to them until they were out of sight.

"I'm really glad we did this," Misty said.

"So am I," Ash agreed. The three of then stood on the beach for a while longer, memories of a Valentine's Day none of them would soon forget running through their heads.

Thanks to an unexpected visit from an old friend the Ketchum's Valentine's Day turned out even better than they planned. Thanks for reading and I'll see you all next year.

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